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Small Problems

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler

a small group of lit matches rests on a piece of wood

In a hurry as usual, I climbed into the car to drive my daughter to school. When I turned the key in the ignition, nothing happened. I tried twice more with the same result. The battery was dead! We would have to walk. At least it was a pleasant morning and we lived only a few blocks from school.

What, I wondered, had drained the battery? Then I remembered that the interior lights had been on when I parked the car in the driveway the night before. I had meant to investigate but had been too busy carting groceries, getting dinner, and helping the children with homework. If I hadn’t overlooked a little problem in the first place, I realized, it wouldn’t have grown into a bigger one this morning.

That’s how it is with most things. Small problems that are overlooked grow into bigger problems that can threaten the peace. Take my friend Jan. A mother of three, she confided not long ago that she was worried about two of her boys because she had caught them telling lies. It wasn’t anything big. They would say they were going to bed when they were really hiding under the covers playing video games. Or they would assure her they had done their homework when they hadn’t. Or they would blame someone else for an infraction they had committed themselves.

She was shocked to realize both boys had become inveterate liars. Why hadn’t she and her husband noticed the problem earlier? She wasn’t quite sure. Maybe their lies had at first seemed inconsequential. Maybe she and her husband had thought it enough to simply chide them. Maybe both parents had been too busy to pay close attention to what their children were telling them. Whatever the case, Jan realized that overlooking the problem had made it grow larger and more entrenched.

Every day a thousand things assail us. Overlooking some of them is probably a good idea. But ignoring the wrong ones means we are asking for bigger trouble later. Ask God today to help you pay attention to what matters so that small problems will stay small rather than crowding out the peace he has for you.

 

 
Originally published February 21, 2017.

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